Tag Archives: yucca

Yucca Blossom Fritters

The genus Yucca has 40-50 species, mainly in the US Southwest and Mexico. Most have edible flowers, fruits/seeds, and flower stalks, and some have edible roots (when processed). Common names for this plant usually include “yucca” but some are known as “spanish bayonet” and one is the “joshua tree.” Besides food, the uses of this plant are many, and include the roots being used as soap, the leaves used for fibers, the leaf tips as needles, and the leaves for plaited sandals. Since the dried leaves or woody parts have a very low combustion temperature, they make excellent tinder.

Here I wanted to share a recipe for eating the flowers. Raw, the flowers can be quite bitter. But cooked, they have a nice flavor. I battered and fried some flowers from a spanish dagger blooming on campus. I used whole rye flour, eggs, and water to make the batter. Then I dipped each flower in the batter to coat it and deep-fried it in olive oil. So tasty!

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flour, batter, and yucca blossoms

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Yucca fritters! I fried a lot more but they were so good they got eaten before I remembered to take a photo!

 

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Herbal medicine for broken bones

My mom just broke her wrist so I did some research to give her some help from the plant kingdom. I immediately remembered an herb called boneset (Eupatorium spp.), but apparently that name comes from its use to cure a type of influenza or dengue fever, called “break-bone” of old. Looking through my herbal medicine / ethnobotany library, I found the following herbal preparations to be good for broken or fractured bones:

To speed healing, a poultice made of the whole plant (roots, stems and leaves) of yarrow (Achillea millifolium) should be kept around the affected area. Drink a tea made of the leaves and flowers of yarrow to also enhance healing. Yarrow s a very effective, all around healing enhancer that is found commonly in temperate areas. Achilles carried it into battle for his injured Myrmidons.

yarrow

Yarrow

The fresher the plant and preparation, the better. Wild plants also have stronger / more abundant active compounds compared to commercially grown and harvested plants.

Yucca (Yucca spp.) roots should be steamed and used as a poultice on the affected area for anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects.

Yucca recurvifolia

Yucca recurvifolia

A liniment of aconite (Aconitum columbianum) leaf tincture should be applied to the affected area to reduce pain.

Horstail (Equisetum spp.) roots or the boiled young shoots have a lot of trace minerals such as calcium that will help bone healing. Horsetail is common near fresh water, but be careful to not collect from polluted waters, since this plant readily uptakes pollutants, especially heavy metals.

Balm of Gilead, a tincture made from the resin of young spring buds of cottonwood or poplar (Populus spp.) is an effective, ancient anti-inflammatory and vulnerary that should be applied externally to the affected area.